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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

January 28, 2015 at 1:52 PM

Pac-12 predictions: Washington moves on, faces Stanford without Robert Upshaw

    Stanford guard Chasson Randle dunks over Washington center Gilles Dierickx (34) during the first half of the Cardinal's 68-60 overtime win on Jan. 4 at Maples Pavilion. (Photo credit: Ezra Shaw - Getty Images)

Stanford guard Chasson Randle dunks over Washington center Gilles Dierickx (34) during the first half of the Cardinal’s 68-60 overtime win on Jan. 4 at Maples Pavilion. (Photo credit: Ezra Shaw – Getty Images)

Even before Washington booted sophomore center Robert Upshaw from the team, tonight’s game against Stanford was going to be a tough test for the Huskies.

They’re attempting to rebound from their worst loss of the season – a 77-56 defeat at then-No. 12 Utah. And the schedule makers didn’t do the Huskies any favors either.

They returned home late Sunday night following the game that began at 5:30 p.m. PT. Per NCAA rules, the Huskies took a day off Monday and essentially had two practices (a full workout Tuesday and Wednesday’s shoot around) to prepare for Stanford.

On top of all of that, the Huskies must adjust their schemes without Upshaw, their 7-foot rim protector who led the nation with 4.5 blocks per game. He was third on the team averaging 10.9 points and tops among Huskies with 8.2 rebounds per game.

The Huskies may learn how to be successful on the court without Upshaw, but they’ll probably need more than 48 hours to find a winning formula.

In their last meeting with Stanford, Washington came up eight points shy. This time, the Huskies won’t have Upshaw, who had 10 points and 10 rebounds against the Cardinal. The Huskies are also missing 6-11 junior forward Jernard Jarreau (knee), who is still 3-5 weeks from recovering from a knee injury. He had four points and four rebounds in 19 minutes against Stanford.

That’s a lot of length and production on the front line that’s no longer with Washington.

The Huskies will elevate 6-7 freshman forward Donaven Dorsey in the starting lineup and hope 6-9 senior forward Shawn Kemp Jr. can have another explosive game against Stanford. In their last meeting, Kemp finished with a team-high  19 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the field. He was also 5 of 6 on free throws.

However, Kemp benefited with Upshaw on the floor and did most of his damage against junior center Grant Verhoeven, Stanford’s second-best low-post starter. Verhoeven (hip) hasn’t played in the past four games and isn’t expected to be available Wednesday.

This time Kemp will have to contend with 6-11 senior center Stefan Nastic, who is averaging 14.0 points and 7.1 rebounds.

The Huskies must also find a way to contain Pac-12 scoring leader Chasson Randle, who is averaging 19.6 points in five games against UW. He’s destroyed Washington in the past including a career-high tying 33-point performance last season.

If Washington pays too much attention to Randle, it’ll get burned by senior sharp-shooting guard Anthony Brown who averages 15.8 points. He’s converting 47.3 percent on three-pointers, which is second in the Pac-12.

Brown is one of seven Stanford players who shoots at least 37.5 percent on three-pointers, which doesn’t bode well for Washington.

The Huskies are likely to roll out their 2-3 zone for the fifth straight game. On Sunday, Utah burned Washington with red-shot perimeter shooting. The Utes converted 11 of 18 three-pointers, which wasn’t surprising considering they lead the Pac-12 with 41.7 percent shooting on three-pointers.

Stanford is second at 40.9.

Since their last outing, the Huskies need to shore up their perimeter defense while preparing for an opponent that’s likely to challenge them inside. Washington also has to address a sagging offense that’s been held to fewer than 57 points in three of the past four games. And it’ll need to figure out a rotation that’s down to eight healthy scholarship players.

That’s a lot of adjusting – in 48 hours.

Las Vegas oddsmakers made Stanford a 2-point favorite.

I’m guessing, it won’t be that close.

THE PICK: Stanford 75-60.

TODAY’S PAC-12 SCHEDULE:

Game Time TV
Oregon State (14-5, 5-2) at Arizona State (10-10, 2-5) 5 p.m. Pac-12 Networks
Oregon (14-6, 4-3) at No. 6 Arizona (18-2, 6-1) 7 p.m. Pac-12 Networks
Stanford (14-5, 5-2) at Washington (14-4, 3-4) 8 p.m. ESPNU

 

PICKS: ASU and Arizona.

GUESS THE UW SCORE WINNER – jed/uw picked Utah 72-56 and wrote: “I hope I am completely wrong. This will be one of the greatest wins in years if we can beat this Utah team on their court on the rear-end side of a road trip.” Washington lost 77-56. Contact me (pallen@seattletimes.com) to claim your prize. Thanks for playing.

 

Comments | More in Guess the UW Score | Topics: Chasson Randle, Stanford

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